Pasteis de Belem

When you arrive in Lisbon, what do you do next?  You drive out of the airport towards the river Tagus. As you get close, you first see the seagulls. Then, you see the Tower of Belem and the Jeronimos Monastery. A marble henry the Navigator leads a pack of explorers, pointing the way to the new world. But that's not why you came here. You came here for a small pastry shop just down the road.

In 1834, the government closed down all Portuguese convents and monasteries. The friars of the Jeronimos Monastery needed a source of income. So, like other religious orders in Portugal, they used ancient recipes to make pastries for sale. The Jeronimos monks made little cups of flaky pastry dough filled with custard and topped with cinnamon. These ' Pasteis de Belem' are little bites of heaven. The recipe hasn't changed since the pastry shop opened in 1837,  only three people who prepare the cream and dough in the 'Oficina do Segredo' (Secret workshop), know the recipe.

I wear:
White dress by Jane Norman
Purple Bag by Prada

These pastries are heavenly bites of cinnamon and warmth. They must be eaten warm and right away, never saved for later. Every coffee shop in Portugal produces  an imitation 'Pasteis de Nata', but none captures the lightness of the dough, the creaminess of the filling. Because there is only one place in the world where you can get 'Pasteis de Belem'.

Antiga Confeiaria de Belem, Rua de Belem, 84-92, Lisbon. Tel 21-363-7423. Email: pasteisdebelem@pasteisdebelem.pt. Click here for website.

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